Fleet Garden Centre homes plan fails to take root

Fleet Road Garden Centre, Fleet
Fleet Road Garden Centre, Fleet
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Plans to build nine homes on the site of an existing garden centre in Fleet have been rejected.

This was despite pre-application advice indicating that an application would be welcomed because the business - Fleet Garden Centre - is flagged as a potential housing site in the emerging South East Lincolnshire Local Plan.

However, Coun Peter Coupland said: “This application contravenes a lot of our policies. A previous similar development on Fleet Road abutting the Holbeach border was refused under powers, then refused at appeal.

But Coun Andrew Tennant believed the site was suitable for the proposed development.

“I was surprisd when I read the recommendation to refuse. This is not a rural road, it is a residential road from Holbeach to Fleet.

“It’s a ribbon development of residential properties and a brownfield site - exactly the sort of site that should be considered.

“It’s a nice site on a residential road,” he concluded.

The applicant, Applegate Homes (Lincs) Ltd, proposed five four-bedroom houses and three three-bedroom properties for the site.

Officers noted that while the scheme would provide a supply of housing and be deliverable, it was outweighed by the loss of a commercial site and the harm the homes would bring in terms of effect on the neighbouring countryside.

“I have some sympathy,” commented committee chairman, Coun Roger Gambba-Jones. “But then we would be inviting people to ‘fill in the gaps’.

“I suspect we would see a rush of people to make similar applications.

“Some say you should wait until you’re forced into that [situation], rather than jumping.”